|Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern. —AFP/VNA Photo
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern’s official visit to Việt Nam from November 14-17 at the invitation of Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính is expected to further deepen the Strategic Partnership between the two countries.
The visit will contribute to strengthening political trust and promoting multifaceted cooperation between Việt Nam and New Zealand, including politics-diplomacy, defence-security, economy, investment, labour, education, technology, climate change, and digital transformation.
The two countries established bilateral diplomatic relations on June 19, 1975, lifted them to a Comprehensive Partnership in 2009, and issued a Joint Statement on strengthening and deepening the Comprehensive Partnership towards a Strategic Partnership in March 2015.
They officially upgraded their relations to a Strategic Partnership on the occasion of the online high-level talks between Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern in 2020, and signed an action plan for the 2021-2024 period to deploy the bilateral strategic partnership.
In its foreign policy, New Zealand always affirms its importance to relations with Việt Nam, considering the country an important factor in its policy for the Asia-Pacific region.
The two countries have maintained the exchange of high-level delegations, and bilateral cooperation mechanisms in recent years.
In security and defence cooperation, New Zealand has supported Việt Nam in organising training courses on counter-terrorism, criminal investigation techniques, prevention of money laundering and high-tech crime, and tactical first aid.
The two sides have cooperated closely within the framework of Interpol as well as the ASEAN-New Zealand Joint Declaration for Cooperation to Combat International Terrorism in 2005. They have also implemented training support programmes, especially in English for peacekeeping forces, and maintained visits of naval ships and bilateral defence dialogue mechanisms.
Việt Nam and New Zealand are members of important regional and international organisations and multilateral forums, including the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), and cooperation mechanisms within ASEAN. The two countries have always supported and closely coordinated with each other in the implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
Regarding economic cooperation, Việt Nam is New Zealand's 16th largest trading partner, with two-way trade increasing steadily through the years, hitting US$1.3 billion in 2021 and $1.1 billion in the first nine months of 2022, up 26.7 per cent and 13.6 per cent year-on-year, respectively.
The two sides successfully organised the 7th meeting of the Việt Nam - New Zealand Joint Committee on Economic and Trade Cooperation via video conference in October 2020.
As of October 2022, New Zealand had 49 investment projects worth over $210 million, ranking 39th out of the 139 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam. Meanwhile, Vietnamese firms are operating 11 projects in New Zealand with a total registered capital of $38.4 million.
Regarding development cooperation, New Zealand has frequently provided stable and gradually increasing official development assistance (ODA) to Việt Nam, from NZD 3.2 million ($2.3 million) in the fiscal year 2003 - 2004 to NZD 26.66 million ($18.6 million) for the 2015 - 2018 period, focusing on human resources development, education - training, sustainable agricultural and rural development. New Zealand committed 26.7 million NZD in non-refundable ODA for Việt Nam from July 1, 2021 - June 30, 2024.
In the agricultural sector, the two sides agreed to prioritise the consideration of market access requirements for a number of agricultural products of both sides. So far, Vietnamese mango, dragon fruit, rambutan, and tra/basa fish products have been exported to New Zealand.
In addition, the two countries have also paid special attention to promoting cooperation across other fields, including education, labour, vocational education and training and skills development, and transport.
In 2020, the two sides signed a strategic cooperation plan on education for the period of 2020-2023. There are about 2,700 Vietnamese students studying in New Zealand. Every year, about 25 Vietnamese officials from ministries and sectors receive ELTO, ELTSO and ASEAN scholarships funded by the New Zealand government.
Regarding transportation, the two countries signed a bilateral air services agreement in 2003, which was revised in 2015 to enhance aviation security and safety and create favourable conditions for aviation cooperation between the two countries.
For health cooperation, Việt Nam and New Zealand have closely cooperated in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years. New Zealand provided 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine for Việt Nam in September 2021. In May 2022, New Zealand supported the recovery of Việt Nam from the pandemic with NZD 2 million.
According to New Zealand's Ambassador to Vietnam Tredene Dobson, PM Ardern's visit shows the growing relations between the two countries, and reflects both sides’ commitment to fully tapping opportunities created when they agreed to upgrade their relations to Strategic Partnership. — VNS